Spotlight: Atlanta

Allyson Park, VP of external affairs at Coca-Cola, talks about Atlanta's dynamic atmosphere and the sense of community throughout the city.

Allyson Park, VP of external affairs at Coca-Cola, talks about Atlanta's dynamic atmosphere and the sense of community throughout the city.


Atlanta is Georgia's capital. It is home to MLB's Braves, the NFL's Falcons, and the NBA's Hawks.

It's also the state's most populated city, but what most people don't know is the region is often referred to as "the New York City of the South," says Allyson Park, VP of corporate external affairs at Coca-Cola.

Park, who has been in Atlanta for 13 years and previously lived in New York, says the vibe in Atlanta is hospitable, young, international, and hip with a vibrant music scene and a booming food culture. In terms of PR, she says the atmosphere is "dynamic." Also, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, making it easy to travel and meet clients and agency partners.

Fast Facts

1. Delta Air Lines is Atlanta's largest employer. Some other corporate giants include Newell Rubbermaid, Home Depot, Deloitte, AT&T Mobility, UPS, and Porsche North America
2. Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta by Dr. John S. Pemberton and named by Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Robinson. It was first served in Atlanta at Jacob's Pharmacy for 5 cents a glass
3. The average annual salary for a PR professional in the Southeast region is $92,500, according to PRWeek's and Bloom, Gross & Associates' 2013 Salary Survey
4. Every year, the International Poultry Expo, the world's largest poultry and egg industry trade show with about 25,000 attendees, is held in Atlanta
5. In November 2012, Atlanta saw the most job growth in the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors, up 19,100 jobs or 3.5% year over year, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The second largest growth was seen in the professional and business services sector, increasing by 11,800 or 2.9%
6. Atlanta's Office of Sustainability has big plans, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and recycling 50% of the city's waste by 2015

She adds that the region has a strong media presence. CNN is based in Atlanta, as well as media giant Cox Enterprises, media streaming company iflixtv.com, and newspaper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among other print, broadcast, and online press outlets.

Atlanta has a diverse offering of PR agencies, such as Jackson Spalding, which Park says is one of the local firms Coca-Cola uses. As well as the agency giants, other firms include Flammer Relations and full-service independent Brandware PR.

One of the unique aspects of Atlanta is its "golden triangle," Park explains, which is where the business, government, and civic society sectors all come together. "The businesses really support the city and the community," she notes. "There's a strong degree of civic society that even extends to communications professionals getting involved with the universities or students getting out of school."

Colleges in the area include Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Agnes Scott College, which Park says helps bring top talent to the region for different types of businesses. Park adds that she is "amazed" how many job offerings are advertised for entry-level positions and paid internships.

Another key element about Atlanta is that the metropolitan area is comprised of 28 counties. Since the region is so widespread, with some parts urban and others suburban or rural, Park says each community has its own flair, similar to how New York City's five boroughs all have different vibes.

While public transportation is readily available, environmentally friendly options of travel are also promoted heavily throughout the city. Park explains that March 6 is Georgia's Walk to School Day for children and Coca-Cola offers free bikes at its headquarters so staffers can go for a ride during the day.


Reach out
Mayor Kasim Reed
Mayor's office of comms, 55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500
(404) 330-6100

Local PRSA chapter
(770) 449-6369
www.prsageorgia.org

American Marketing Association – Atlanta
1054 Redwood Drive, Norcross, GA 30093
(404) 630-4643
www.ama-atlanta.com

Jackson Spalding office
1100 Peachtree St NE
(404) 724-2500

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